Memories of Leicester – An Ongoing Series

Posted: 21st July 2009 by admin in Leicester

I’ve done a couple of articles in the past about my time in Leicester, and I thought it is about time I did another one.

I lived in Braunstone Frith until I moved to Coventry for University at 18, that wasn’t my first choice, I wanted to go and build robots at Reading University, but my Physics E grade at A Level let me down. Lets admit it, no member of 1991-1992 Mr Lawrence class was never going to get anything named after them physics wise. Some bright spark (no names Mr Wilford) even decided to go and study Physics as University after failing his A Level. All this after the stunning success of the GCSE’s in co-ordinated science, where 80-90% of mainly the same students achieved double A grades.

Even then I spent my weekends in Leicester during my degree working at Littlewoods in the Haymarket Centre. Originally I worked in the stockroom, then got moved to working in the cafe, keeping the crappest storeroom jobs in the process. I much prefered the storeroom, less hassle, and you could organise your day to suit yourself. Several others returned at weekends to work as well including Ian Baker, who stewarded the social club at British Shoe, where I did regular shifts on a sunday afternoon covering the lunch run in the kitchens, and doing the occasional function.

I remember my maddest weekend work wise, which was a function 8pm-2am at the social club on the friday, then 8.30-5.30 at Littlewoods follwed by another late function at the club immediately afterwards on the saturday, followed by the normal sunday lunch shift. But I think my worst sunday lunch was after a night out in Loughborough. I had been out with Adam Freestone, Benner, Tez and a few others to dance night at the Student Union. I have been awake all night, after going back to this massive 19 bedroom house and chilling out till the sunday morning, then catching the train back. On the way back I got a call asking if I could cover lunch, feeling OK at the time, I agreed. Bad Move! About an hour in the after effects of the night before kicked in, and serving food was the last thing I wanted to be doing at that moment.

I remember my maddest weekend work wise, which was a function 8pm-2am at the social club on the friday, then 8.30-5.30 at Littlewoods follwed by another late function at the club immediately afterwards on the saturday, followed by the normal sunday lunch shift, was bloody ready for a session after that. But I think my worst sunday lunch was after a night out in Loughborough. I had been out with Adam Freestone, Benner, Tez and a few others to dance night at the Student Union. I have been awake all night, after going back to this massive 19 bedroom house and chilling out till the sunday morning, then catching the train back. On the way back I got a call asking if I could cover lunch, feeling OK at the time, I agreed. Bad Move! About an hour in the after effects of the night before kicked in, and serving food was the last thing I wanted to be doing at that moment.

Work meant there were a few of us about for nights out still, which normally meant either going to wherever Mark Horne was DJ’ing that night with Ian, Phil, Simon or a combination of that circle of friends or a few beers at the Bricklayers Arms, we started drinking there underage, it was about a mile of out town, but a nice boozer, for some reason we stuck there.

If Andrew Crane or Stu Wilford was about, a visit to Fan Club or Alcatraz, after a couple of years this was more often as Stu had decided a career in Physics was not for him. These two groups were pretty exclusive in that they rarely crossed with each other.

If it was the latter was always the same ritual if the weather was good. We would meet up at Andrew’s house (Adam Freestones was on the way there if he was coming), then walk down to Stu Wilfords place, and then walk into town down the old Great Central way path at the back of New Parks to the Narborough Road Junction. A good night of moshing was followed by chips and curry sauce from the bottom of the high street and then the walk home.

I don’t know why we did walked so much, but we just seemed to walk a lot more with this group. Maybe it was because none of us had our own cars. The people who had cars were all in my other social circles, Ian Baker had a Cherry Red Mini, followed by a Metalic Grey Ford Orion, other peoples slip my mind now. The first time a car came into the Adam / Stu / Andy circle was when Adam started going out with Emma who had a car, and I admit this freely, she was taken advantage of for a few years. Other people who I hung out with as part of this group also had cars, Tez Dyer and Carl Benner, and from what I remember they were taken advantage of as much by other people.

Now a side story, somebody (possibly Tez Dyer) at one point has a small van, Rascal van size, and there were 7-8 of us in the back of it, I think Tez, Loz his brother, Adam, were all there. I can’t remember where we were going. People were smoking fags in the back, and we all fitted where we could. There was more than a couple of people who could have cut down on the pies. The driver then decided to do a sudden stop, this being a van we had no notice of this, and all I can remember is arms, legs and cigarettes flying and having to untangle the pile of limbs afterwards. I also remember a similar size van doing drive by super soakers on Dominion Road one day.

There was also a third circle of friends, mainly based around Carl Russell, most of whom were linked by basketball to him. Carl was an anomily among my friends in that he drifted in and out of my other 2 social circles as it suited him, for sport and nights out. During my summers at university I was back home, and normally temp’ed a few days during week and then did the food jobs at the weekend.

One summer I worked at Co-op doing some relabelling macros in excel for 10 weeks or so. I also played football on a wednesday night, and went for a few beers with Carl before catching last bus home from town. We seems to be able to drink a lot for not a lot of money on those nights. However one night we excelled ourselves. We had 12ish quid left on us in total, including bus fares, and somehow managed to get totally pissed on it, without student cheap deals. The first stop at the Bricklayers Arms (was O’Neills then), they had 1 quid guiness for 5 minutes after every goal, I think it was a 3-2 or a 4-2 game, but the drinking stella through a straw at the sports bar below the Grand Hotel seemed to be the moment of genius. Not the morning after however.

However the biggest part of my life from 15-20 was Role Playing Games, an interest thats been reignited in the last 3 years with the same bunch of people I played with in my teens, now through online gaming, firstly with running Rifts via skype and a GM website, then onto Dialbo 2, and very recently via Anarchy Online.

Twice a week, sunday afternoon and a midweek night, me, Stu, Adam, Andy (when he was back in leicester) and a selection from Aaron, Woody and Benner among other would congregate at Adams, Andy’s or Stus armed with dice and a 3 foot high pile of Rifts World books. (yes we had nearly 40 books for 1 game). Rifts became the main obsession. Previously we had done D&D, Ninjas and Superspies, Warhammer Fantasy, but Rifts was our game. Four Packs in hand, we played until we were to knackered or not fit to play. If Andy Crane was about it was always the prefered location to play as he had his own wing the the back of the house where we could just chilled and second and most important a full size snooker table in the conservatory.

Thats it for now….I’ll write another installment when I come up with some new stuff.